‘Teenager Mode’ in Video Apps Has Flaws, Authorities Find

Consumer rights watchdog says minors were still able to bypass the restrictions, and there wasn’t enough relevant content for them online.

A regional consumer rights watchdog has found that a feature introduced to limit the screen time of teenagers is not as effective as intended, underscoring the challenges and complexities in implementing the regulation.

The Shanghai Consumers Council found that the “teenager mode” on 20 Chinese major video and livestreaming platforms — including Douyin, Kuaishou, Bilibili, and iQiyi — lacked relevant content for minors as required, with some showing empty pages with no videos, according to a report released Tuesday. Instead of adding more educational and knowledge-based videos in the feed, many were instead filled with food recommendations, among others.

Introduced in 2019 by China’s top internet watchdog, many platforms laterinstituted a 40-minute daily time use on minors, with no nighttime browsing allowed, via “teenager mode.” The feature aimed to curb the screen time of minors and also limit their access to harmful content. 

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